FSU Trustees Start Search for New President

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By Julie Montanaro
February 19, 2014

Florida State University could have a new president by the start of fall semester.

Trustees called an emergency meeting today as they try to get over the shock of President Barron's departure.

"I know you have work to do. I'm sorry you have work to do," President Barron said as he addressed trustees Wednesday morning.

President Eric Barron's decision to leave FSU for the president's job at Penn State caught most of these trustees by surprise.

He apologized for the way they found out and stayed just minutes at an emergency meeting to kick start the university's search for a new head nole.

"When you're good like we are, and FSU, we're not good, we're great, people pick off your players," Chairman Allan Bense said.

"There was a huge salary jump for Barron ..."

"I know, nice, I'm jealou," Bense said afterward.

"Well let's talk about that... is that something that you're going to have to look at as a board, is raising what you're offering a president here at Florida State?"

"We'll clearly look at that and if it needs to be adjusted than we may adjust it," Bense said.

Trustees stressed the importance of making a choice in 60 to 90 days.

A couple of board members suggested another FSU graduate take the helm, one pushed for a president to continue to boost the university's academic prestige and others alluded to a need for a politically savvy leader willing to walk the halls of the legislature.

"I'm less concerned with doing it quickly and more concerned with doing it correctly," SGA President Rosie Contreras said.

"This is the most important decision a board of trustees for any state university makes," trustee Mark Hillis said.

Fellow trustee Ed Burr was named to head the search committee. The search committee members will be chosen before the board's March 7th meeting.

Trustees expect to name an interim president that day too and may even choose from among three search firms.

A web site with information on the presidential search will go live in the next few days. It will allow the public to offer feedback and suggestions. fsu.edu/presidential search

Associated Press News Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Outgoing Florida State University Eric Barron says he is sorry how university trustees found out that he was leaving to take the top job at Penn State University.

Barron made his brief apology Wednesday during a meeting of FSU trustees.

Penn State appointed Barron on Monday, but news about the pending decision began to circulate last Friday.

Allan Bense, chairman of the FSU board, acknowledged Barron told him more than a week ago. Bense last week said he had not gotten "official confirmation" that Barron was leaving.

FSU trustees on Wednesday discussed a search for a new president. Trustees also agreed to waive a clause in Barron's contract that required him to turn in his resignation notice 180 days ahead of time. Barron's last day at FSU is April 2.

By: Julie Montanaro
February 19, 2014, 12:40 p.m.

Tallahassee, Fla. -- FSU trustee Ed Burr will head the presidential search committee.

Trustee chair Allan Bense says by the trustees next meeting in March, they hope to have the search committee members chosen and three search firms to consider. Bense says he wants to name an interim president at the next trustees meeting too.

A public access web site will also go live in the next few days. It will have information on the search and allow the public to share their feedback and suggestions.

By: Julie Montanaro
February 19, 2014, 12 p.m.

Tallahassee, Fla. -- In an emergency meeting at FSU this afternoon, President Eric Barron apologized to the trustees for the way they found out about his selection as President at Penn State, saying, "that was not my intent."

"I know you have work to do," Barron said before leaving the room.

The board chairman said at the meeting today trustees need to formally accept Barron's resignation, begin the search process, and work toward naming an interim president.

The chairman said he wants the search process to last 60 to 90 days.

He said it is a complement to FSU that Eric Barron was "picked off" by Penn State, saying, "I don't like it, but I get it."

Associated Press News Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida State University trustees are holding an emergency meeting in the wake of the resignation of President Eric Barron.

Barron earlier this week agreed to become president of Penn State University. He is going to get a base salary nearly double what FSU was paying him.

Trustees will meet Wednesday to determine the process for selecting a replacement.

Barron's contract states that he is required to turn in notice of his resignation 180 days ahead of time. But Penn State already announced Barron will start his new job by May 2.

A spokeswoman for FSU said that trustees will discuss the notice requirement during the emergency meeting.

Barron was getting paid more than $400,000 a year, but he also was paid hefty bonuses for meeting performance and fundraising goals.

News Release: Florida State University

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida State University Board of Trustees will hold an emergency meeting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, to determine the process for selecting a president. The meeting follows the resignation of Eric J. Barron, who has served as the 14th president of Florida State since February 2010. He is leaving to become the president of Pennsylvania State University.

During Barron’s term as president of Florida State, the institution was twice named the nation’s most efficient university, designated as one of two preeminent universities by the Florida Legislature and has been recognized as one of the most student-veteran friendly universities in the nation. The university’s football program returned to national championship status and the athletic programs reached their highest levels in the Directors’ Cup in the history of the award.

“Eric has become one of the top university presidents in the nation,” said Allan Bense, chair of Florida State University’s Board of Trustees. “I know that he has been approached by several major universities recently and has declined to be interviewed. While this is a great loss for the state of Florida and Florida State University, this is also a tremendous opportunity for Eric. He leaves this university in very good shape, and we certainly wish him well as he moves on to this new challenge.”

“President Barron has been an exceptional leader for Florida State, and Penn State has made an excellent choice in selecting him as their next president,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Garnett S. Stokes. “He leaves us in a good position to continue our advance to the Top 25 as one of the nation’s preeminent universities. Eric and Molly will be deeply missed by our university and throughout the Tallahassee community.”

Barron released a letter to the university community today in which he said of his alma mater, “I am very proud of my university and its progress over the last four years. And so, I find myself ready for the next challenge.”

Associated Press News Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida State University Board of Trustees will meet in an emergency session to discuss matters related to operation of the school.

The meeting is planned for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

No further details were immediately available.

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